Wow, what a f*cked up day. Initially, while thinking about everything that went down, I was going to try to curb the Feisty that lives within me, occasionally dormant, sometimes rearing her big, b*tchy head (I’m not going to link to instances when I’ve been b*tchy, you’ll just have to find them yourself, but if you look around, it’s not that hard to find!). Mostly because part of the reason I went was to show some love for one of the Cook Off judges, Cathy of Not Eating Out in NY, but then it occurred to me. She didn’t host the thing. She’s not the reason it was all sorts of ridiculous. So why should she feel bad about what I’m about to write? (Cathy, sincerely, in advance, I hope you don’t take this as any slight against you.)
HB and I had planned on going since I first forwarded this to everyone. All you can eat BBQ, all you can drink beer for $25, and this includes a one year subscription to NY Mag (which neither of us cared for, but whatever) valued at $10. So, okay. Great deal, sounded like a fun event for a rare Saturday afternoon when both of us were totally free. I was really looking forward to this; it’s actually been a really long time since HB and I hung out one-on-one. The weather promised to be sunny, hot, perfect for an outdoor BBQ with lots of beer.
Because of the nice weather, we decided to walk over from HB’s apartment in Murray Hill. After a nice leisurely paced walk, we arrived to find some people – no more than 10 or 15 – walking around the “entrance” area to the BBQ. I had no idea what time it was, so I walked up to the registration table, with its signs hanging down in front, to gain entrance. One of the women sitting there watched me approach without saying a word, but when I got right up in front of her, she barked at me, “We’re not open yet! We open at 1!” and shooed me away. I was kind of like, okay… whatever. HB informed me it was 12:57.
We decided to wait in the shade, but the minutes ticked by and they still weren’t letting anyone in. The security guards didn’t seem to know what to do with the horde of people that had amassed outside the blue police barricades, and they began moving the barricades all while carefully avoiding our questioning looks. No one knew where to line up. Somehow, we managed to be in the right place, but as soon as the “gates” finally opened at 1:30, it was a mad dash to the tables to register. Of course, the signs that were up indicating which person you were to go to (A-G, H-M, N-T, U-Z; YES THEY HAD A U-Z LINE THAT HAD UMMM, ALL OF NOBODY ON IT AFTER 5 MINUTES) were quickly blocked, so latecomers who didn’t realize it was by last name were totally confused. I was in the right line, but a few people seemed to think it was okay to attempt to cut me by standing to my side. Sorry, I ain’t called Feisty because I let people cut me. I turned and put my back to them, and effectively blocked them. I hope they were sent to the back of the line.
(At this point, the U-Z lineperson must have realized what was up because then she called out timidly, “I can take people over here…” and there was a mad rush towards her. Which basically rendered this whole “organized” effect pointless. But then, the whole event was kind of pointless.)
You see, we’d been told that this was an all you can eat BBQ. Yet upon registration, we were handed a dinky little ticket and told “This is your meal ticket; half of it should be ripped for the meal, and the other half for dessert.” How is this all you can eat, exactly?
To make matters more interesting, HB and I were so hungry that we immediately descended upon the food table, where there was no line. We were handed a plate of food, and our entire ticket was taken. After trying to explain to the woman that we were told to only give her half a ticket, she patiently explained “Those people up front are idiots. None of this half ticket nonsense. Your dessert is on the plate,” and she pointed to our dessert. Ah. Okay then.
The entire plate of food. Did I just pay $15 for this? Why yes I believe I did. (While I have paid $15 or more for far less food, in those instances, I had not been led to believe I would be paying for all you can eat.)
Our drippy, spicy tacos. HB liked hers; I wasn’t into it. It wasn’t the spiciness, either, it was just … the taco part was soft and mushy, and the flavor wasn’t bad but the meat was dry, saved by a sauce. I’m not into that.
Watermelon, radish, tomatoes, and basil. I admit it: I liked this a lot. But the portion was tiny, and I couldn’t even ask for seconds. Just a little bit more of the wonderfully tangy watermelon! Sweet, juicy, with a burst of pickly taste! HB thought it was alright but wasn’t wow’d by it.
Grilled corn with cojita cheese. I’ve never had this before, and I admit, I really liked this. Salty, tangy, sweet (again) and grilled to luscious sweet crunch. Perfect. (HB said she’s had better. This was my first time so I will go with her opinion.)
The dessert, a crumble or bread pudding type thing was super lame. I only ate it to stave off hunger pangs. This was truly a BS “all you can eat” event.
Soon enough, the place started filling up. Again with the disorganization: out front, there were two tables, one with a raffle for New York Cares (a great volunteer organization, seriously), and the other with a (free) game from Saucony (the sneaker company) where you could win a bunch of free stuff. They were also giving out small water guns, in anticipation of the hot day ahead of us, which was awesome, but not many people were going near the table because no one knew what it was about. Better advertising, people!!!
StB alerted me to Gawker’s post, mentioning that apparently, they ran out of food, which is inexcusable considering it was a ticketed event that had sold out. They must have known how many people to expect, and at one plate of food per person, how did they run out??? Was there some underhanded eating going on?
They also ran out of beer, which could be understandable, given that sometimes people underestimate just how thirsty people will be. Initially, they were pouring entire bottles of beer into plastic cups, then they switched to half bottles (which is when I had a beer), then they ran out entirely. A beer run was made, and they brought back Coors Light. If I liked beer – if I liked the beer they’d been serving originally – I’d have been PISSED. Thankfully I don’t like beer, and I didn’t like the stuff they’d been serving, so I wouldn’t have cared about the Coors Light (I actually didn’t even bother getting back on line).
At this point, they started up the grills for the BBQ Cook Off. It wasn’t made clear that the cook off recipes were not going to be sampled by the crowd – until the cook off grills were brought out.
… yeah. Doubt we’re going to get any food.
As if I had any doubts, this super surly, grumpy lookin’ guy sealed it.
That guy in the middle? See, I was standing there, taking photos of the competitors, waiting around to see who won. I was actually interested, even though no one announced the cook off had started, nor was there anything official like a countdown or anything of the sort. Nope. That guy shot my friend and I a nasty look and said loudly and super snarkily, “I think someone told these people that this is the line for more food,” and gestured with his chin towards us. Ummm… wow. I don’t know who you are, and I kind of don’t give a f* now, but really? He also checked his food but super secretively, not letting anyone see what he was making. Dude. Get over yourself. I was interested in the competition until you said that.
At this point, we’d been there for a good 3 hours, and the sun was beginning to get to me. I received a nasty sunburn on my shoulders and neck, a bit on my face, and I was really tired from being in so much sun. (I’m also prone to getting sun poisoning…) HB and I shrugged and decided to leave before the judging, since it seemed we’d just wait around for another hour and a half and still not know what was going on. Plus. Really? The place was entirely packed and there was nothing more for us there.
On our way out, I took this snap of the Islands or whoever the f* they are.
Overall, what a mess. The event was poorly organized, poorly planned, and a severe disappointment. If I was one of the people who didn’t receive any food, I would demand my money back. What kind of BS is that?!
Seriously? Highbrow BBQ? Maybe if that means “Where we act like jerks and treat y’all like lowbrow losers”? Whatever. You won’t find me back here next year. You can keep your “all you can eat (if you’re a 12 year old girl)” and terrible organization skills. I’ll stay home and throw my own BBQ, thanks.